Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and a favorite of President Bush, will retire from Israeli politics, an aide said Wednesday.
Sharansky, 58, could not be reached for comment, but aide Florina Elman-Levine disclosed his decision. He will not speak publicly until he meets Sunday with Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, she said. Sharansky is a Likud member of parliament and former Cabinet minister.
Israel Radio reported Sharansky will become a research fellow at the Shalem Center, a conservative Jerusalem think tank. A spokesman for the center would not confirm the report.
In the 1970s, while known as Anatoly Shcharansky, he became the symbol of the struggle of Soviet Jews to be allowed to emigrate to Israel, serving nine years in a Soviet labor camp before realizing his dream in 1986.
A man named Ronald Reagan played a big part in his release; [shown in the jpeg above]. If you haven't read Sharansky's book The Case for Democracy, I can't recommend it to you more highly. This man truly understands what is at stake in the world today as good and evil do battle. We can only hope that in his work as a research fellow he will continue to honor us with his teachings.